I love and loathe reading slush pile submissions. I love it because I love finding the diamond in the rough. The slush pile is like a giant treasure trove and when I find a manuscript that is compelling, hooks me in, and polished. Sure it still needs some elbow grease to get it ready for publication, but its a story that I feel has been told the right way and I can see the potential.
I loathe reading slush because I get all the good, bad and ugly that authors tend to present. This list is intended to help you. So bear with me.
Please do not…
1. Compare your manuscript to something else in a way that either belittles or says its supposed to be enticing because its just like that bestseller.
I don’t care if your novel doesn’t contain vampires. I happen to like vampires. But even if you want to say it doesn’t contain vampires, you have to give me a good reason to care that it doesn’t. Especially if your writing doesn’t wow me.
2. Post the first hundred words of the manuscript in the query letter, without telling me about you, then say “the full manuscript is available upon your request.”
If I don’t know who you are, and I’m being blasted with your excerpt, I’m more than likely not going to request the full. Plus, it just feels rude. Query letters are professional introductions. It tells me who you are.
3. If I send you a R&R (revise and resubmit) request, please don’t email me with an arrogant or rude response.
It makes me not want to read the revision should you decide to eventually do it. Keep in mind, I don’t have to send R&R requests. I could just decline point-blank.
4. Mind your Manners.
This one should speak for itself. The last thing any editor or agent wants is a difficult author. If you disagree, politely state so. There’s no need to rant or rave.
5. After you’ve been sent a rejection, please don’t email me with a angry response.
No editor likes this and just puts you in the difficult pile.
6. Remember the internet.
The internet may not be print, but remember its an easy, searchable plethora of information. If there’s anything embarrassing, if you’re being a little less than honest (like saying you were once published by a certain big publisher), it will come back to bite you in the butt. With a couple quick keystrokes, any editor can find almost any information they seek about you.
Okay, these are just some helpful tips about pet peeves often encountered. Hope they help.